Six weeks into raising her infant, I heard a woman describe the work of caring for her child as ‘drudgery.’ I couldn’t disagree with her. Caring for an infant is a lot of repetitive, sleepless, gritty work. And it doesn’t stop with infancy. The work that goes into raising a teenager is far short of glamorous. The dance recitals are wonderful, but the time spent driving back and forth to lessons and sitting through rehearsals is, well, drudgery. Yet, there is something great about the repetitive, gritty work that we do to raise our children.
“This tastes like a Meursault,” my friend said with a tone of delightful surprise as we sat between the vineyards and Seneca Lake having dinner with some of the local winemakers including Chris Stamp, owner of Lakewood Vineyards. The Chardonnay was crisp with a subtle earthiness that made it such an elegant accompaniment to the farm to table meal.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the wines of the Finger Lakes region in New York. My fellow bloggers and I had come here to participate in the Wine Bloggers’ Conference and to learn more about this region. I knew I would find some good Rieslings. I expected to find some well done Cabernet Francs. But the Lakewood Vineyards Chardonnay was an elegant surprise as was the Lakewood Vineyards Pinot Noir with its bright berry aromas, structured acidity and soft tannins. If the wines could speak, I would expect them to speak with a French accent. But they weren’t French. These were New York, no, Finger Lakes wines, born from the vineyard right behind me.
The Stamp family has been growing grapes on the Lakewood farm since the early 1950’s. Chris Stamp has been making wine since 1983. Now, his two children, Ben and Abby have joined the family business as wine makers.
His son, Ben Stamp loves making wine. He enjoys all aspects of the business from the tastings to the entertaining to the chemistry of it. But what he loves most is the wine-making itself including, and maybe especially the gritty aspects of the process like scraping the sorter and punching down the must. He likes doing the things that ‘make my hands stained and cracked because that’s when I feel most connected with the wine.’ He makes a powerful point. With any job, whether it’s child-rearing or wine-making, we may approach it initially with a romanticized idea of what the job entails. But it is in the grit of the work that we find the real reward. To create a great product, one has to dig in and do the hard work. And if that drudgery can be embraced and give one a greater sense of connection, all the better.
Lakewood Vineyards is located at 4024 State Route 14 in Watkins Glen, NY on Seneca Lake.
The tasting room is open from 10am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 pm on Sunday.